Egypt to inoculate medical staff with COVID-19 vaccination this week

Egypt will begin rolling out its much-needed COVID-19 vaccination programme on medical staff in isolation hospitals this week starting on Sunday, according to Presidential Health Advisor Mohamed Awad Tag El-Din.

In a annual symposium held by Ain Shams university, Tag El-Din said that each person would receive two shots administered 21 days apart.

He did not provide further details about the immunisation programme set to begin this week.

His statements come hours after the the Egyptian Authority for Unified Procurement, Medical Supply and the Management of Medical Technology (UPA) announced it has signed a deal with the R-Pharma and Serum Institute to purchase 20 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Egypt is looking to boost its supply of coronavirus vaccines to face the outbreak in the overpopulous country which many fear could overwhelm the country’s health system.

Earlier this month, Egypt approved the emergency use of the Chinese Sinopharm vaccine, with priority of the vaccination programme given to medical front-liners, patients suffering from chronic diseases and the elderly.

The first batch of vaccines, which Egypt received in December, was tested by the Egyptian Drug Authority (EDA) to ensure its safety for use.

Egypt is also in talks for the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, Health Minister Hala Zayed said earlier this month, adding that Egypt has also separately contracted with the vaccine alliance GAVI to secure 40 million doses of one of the coronavirus vaccines for 20 million citizens.

The first batch of the GAVI vaccine will arrive sometime in the first quarter of 2021, she added, while the other batches will be supplied later throughout the year.

It’s unclear if the country’s immunisation programme would be free for all citizens as officials signal that those able to pay for the vaccine can bear its cost separately without the state’s support.

Egypt entered the second wave of the pandemic in the last week of December, recording double the number of infections daily.

However, it has seen a drop in cases in the past days, reporting under 1,000 cases in daily infections.